Graduate Programs Brochure

brochure cover: Elliott School Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a vibrant academic community — one with a global perspective and a commitment to the public good — then look no further than Washington, DC, and GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

Security Policy Studies M.A. Program

photo: Joanna Spear
Joanna Spear, Program Director

Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master's degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on the security challenges for the 21st century and how to respond to them. These challenges include but are not limited to: weapons of mass destruction proliferation, transnational threats, terrorism, changing regional power dynamics, weak and failing states, international crime, effectively linking security and development, and ensuring U.S. national security.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policy-making process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to defense analysis. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular region, such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program's faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in international security, defense policy, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. Through its academic and professional skills development courses this program can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many think tanks and non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

Recent International Security Videos

Combating the ISIS Threat: A Path Forward

November 13, 2014

Stephen Biddle and Marc Lynch discuss the Obama administration's current strategy toward the ISIS threat, the evolving security situation on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and next steps for regional and global stakeholders.

Climate Change & National Security: A Look at the Pentagon's New Roadmap and Beyond

November 12, 2014

Marcus King discusses the links between global climate change and national security, including the relationship between water scarcity and extremism.

In the News

Less is More: The Future of the U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf

November 01, 2014

Caitlin Talmadge, assistant professor of Political Science and International Affairs, co-authors an article in The Washington Quarterly discussing the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf region.

What Happens When Arming the Rebels Goes Wrong?

October 30, 2014

PBS’ “Frontline” quoted Marc Lynch, director of the Institute for Middle East Studies, about the potential impact of external support for rebel fighters in Syria.

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change

October 13, 2014

Professor Marcus King discusses the links between climate change and national security in the New York Times, following the release of a Pentagon report that asserts that climate change poses an immediate security threat.